Gene Technology

The gene technology programme of the centre is focused on development and improvement of grain legumes towards resistance to insect pest. Currently two important grain legumes (chickpea and blackgram) are included in the programme.

The research team is constantly putting effort to meet all prerequisites stated below for a successful commercialization of Helicoverpa resistant transgenic lines:

  • introduction of one or more Bt genes to avoid risk of monoculture
  • reconstruction of genes for expression in the appropriate organ, tissue, or cell type to nullify any cytoplasmic toxicity of Bt protein
  • recovery of independent transgenic events
  • stable transmission of the transgene(s) to the following generations
  • stable expression of the transgene(s) proven over many generations
  • proven efficacy of the transgenic lines
  • phenotypic stability or agronomic acceptability
  • regulatory approval for safe use with respect to health and environment
  • access to improved germplasm for different agro-ecological zones

Important collaborators of the programme are:

  • CSIRO Plant Industry, Australia as consulting organization for new gene contrsuction, parallel transformation work through deputation of student/research scholars from AAU, Jorhat
  • MAHYCO, Maharastra for parallel transformation work as well as bioassay, biosafety analysis and introgression breeding
  • IARI, New Delhi for constructing transgenes and introgression breeding

Scientists Involved

Scientists involved with this programme are Dr. B K Sarmah, Dr. S Acharjee, and Dr. S Singh from AAU, Jorhat

Collaborative Scientists include Dr. T J V Higgins from CSIRO, Australia, Dr. P A Kumar from NRCPB, New Delhi and Dr. Bharat Char (Mahyco)

Salient accomplishment:

  • BRL1 trials using Back Crossed derivatives of Bt-Cry2Aa chickpea lines were carried out by the Sungroo Seeds, New Delhi in two districts of AP during Rabi, 2014 and trials have been planted this year rabi season in the same two districts of AP.
  • Introgression breeding using AraSSU-Cry1Ac lines (100B, 100E) is in progress at Sungro Seeds, New Delhi
  • Homozygous plants were identified in 2 new AraSSU-Cry1Ac lines
  • Lines using 35S-Cry1Ac (full) (20) and 35S-Cry2Aa (5) constructs have been established
  • A chimeric Cry2Aa gene construct incorporating a chloroplast targeting peptide was made at CSIRO, Canberra and transformation is in progress.
  • An Agrobacterium mediated genetic transformation protocol for blackgram has been established and transformation using Cry2Aa gene to develop pod borer resistant lines is in progress.
  • Potential Bt strains from Assam soil have been isolated. Molecular characterization and cloning is in progress.

Future line of research:

  • Chickpea improvement using chloroplast targeted Bt cry1Ac gene and Vip3 gene construct.
  • Isolation of novel Bt gene from B thuringoensis strains of Assam soil
  • Isolation of pod and flower specific promoters from chickpea
  • Genetic transformation of blackgram using Bt gene(s) to confer protection against pod borers
  • Genetic transformation of crop Brassicas using lectin / glucosinolate gene to confer protection against aphids